The best hotels surprise and delight with over-the-top service and all-star amenities that allow travelers to relax and recharge for their next day’s adventures. They are located in the world’s most interesting and desirable destinations, and offer luxurious rooms and suites that make the most of their surroundings.
In most destinations, travelers face a plethora of lodging choices. Choosing the right one depends on factors such as cost and location. But there are other, lesser-known factors that can also play a role in the choice of a hotel for a vacation or business trip.
Despite the fact that a lot of people use crowdsourced review sites such as TripAdvisor when deciding on their accommodation, these reviews are not always trustworthy. There are a multitude of reasons why this is the case, including reputation management operatives hired by hotels to boost their own ratings while lowering those of competitors; disgruntled former employees; and a general trend for hotel guests to only post a review if they have had an exceptionally positive or negative experience. These factors exclude a broad section of real hotel guests and do a disservice to would-be travellers seeking useful information.
Many online travel sites and apps (including the sites that appear first in search results) bury hotel fees and taxes, making them hard to locate. This practice can add up to significant extra costs, especially for budget-conscious travelers who may not be aware of the underlying rates. Fortunately, there are some honest sites that show all the fees upfront and transparently. One such site is Booking.com, which includes European and Asian taxes in the base prices it displays for hotel rooms, unlike most other online booking sites, which bury these fees in fine print or don’t display them at all.
Hotels come in all shapes and sizes, from luxury resorts with sprawling spas to sleek urban boutiques offering a quiet hideaway. There are also a wide variety of hotel chains, which can vary widely in their satisfaction levels, and even between brands within the same chain’s family.
In the Big Apple, for example, the Conrad New York Midtown offers a residential feel with separate living and sleeping spaces in suites. Its modern furniture and clean lines, chevron wood floors and Kiehl’s amenities are a nod to 1930s art deco opulence, but the rooms are contemporary enough to appeal to modern travelers.
Another consideration when choosing a hotel is whether it offers a loyalty program that rewards frequent customers. Loyalty programs typically give members access to lower room rates, and sometimes free upgrades and meals. They can also provide members with discounts on travel services, such as car rental and airfare. Loyalty programs aren’t just for frequent travelers, though; they can be a great way for families to save on accommodations when visiting popular vacation spots. Loyalty programs are usually free to join. Some are run by hotels themselves, while others are offered by airlines or travel agencies.